What is Pre-Marital Counselling?
Pre-marital counselling is geared toward couples in committed relationships who are planning to officially “tie the knot” sometime in the future. The counselling process often takes place before the wedding and may continue after whenever necessary.
The goals of pre-marital counselling are to assess the strengths and challenges of the couple’s relationship, to provide interventions tailored to the specific needs of the partners and the relationship and to equip the couple with tools that may help them in avoiding common pitfalls of long-term romantic relationships; communication skills and conflict resolution techniques are two examples of such tools.
What to Expect When Embarking on the Process of Pre-Marital Counselling?
The process of counselling is divided into 3 phases: the assessment phase, the working phase and the termination phase.
The assessment phase: This is the initial phase where the couple and the therapist get to know each other. Expect Dr. Regev to ask you lots of questions, which are going to help her to get a sense of who you are as individuals and what the nature of your relationship is. Questions will be aimed at identifying your expectations from your partner and the relationship as well as at uncovering your relationship’s strengths and challenges. This is also a good time for you to ask Dr. Regev questions, which will help you get to know her and her approach to counselling and to pre-marital counselling in particular.
The working phase: This phase is specifically tailored to each couple and relationship needs. The work may include learning and practicing communication skills, experiential work to address parts of the cycle (i.e., the patterns of relating to one another) that may not be working well, healing past wounds, conflict-resolution skills and more. By the end of this phase couples should feel more secure in the relationship and that any doubts that they may have had about officially committing to the relationship, have been resolved. This phase is the longest of the three and may last anywhere between 3-12 sessions.
The termination phase: This is the last phase of pre-marital counselling, where new learning, skills and understandings are consolidated and anchored. It is at this time that a plan for ongoing care and nurturance of the relationship is put together.
How Many Sessions Does the Pre-Marital Counselling Process Span Over?
This is specific to each couple but the range is between 6-16 with an average of 8. You may be able to get a more accurate estimate once the assessment phase has been completed.
Are There Any Risks to Pre-Marital Counselling?
Like in any process of counselling, uncovering private issues, such as past and present hurts and disappointments, past trauma or personal challenges, difficult feelings may arise. In such cases, Dr. Regev does her best to help partners process their feelings in a safe and empathic environment.
Another risk, which is quite rare but might still happen, is that one or both partners may realize, through the process of therapy that they do not wish to make a long-term commitment to the relationship and may even choose to break the relationship up. In such rare cases, Dr. Regev does her best to assist in processing partners’ feelings and in terminating the relationship in the most amicable way possible. In Dr. Regev’s practice this has occurred in less than 5% of couples, usually when couples had serious doubts about the relationship to begin with.